When you're cleaning your house, should you be more scared of your washing machine or your vacuum cleaner? If you had to choose, should you ride with a teen driver or a 90-year-old driver?
Insure.com asked Fred Kilbourne, actuary with The Kilbourne Company in San Diego, to help us figure out our everyday risks. Click through our gallery to see what you should be more worried about.
Washing machines are more likely to injure you but clothes dryers are more likely to kill you. On the other hand, floor-care equipment causes more injuries than either washers or dryers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported annual medically attended injury costs of $1.1 billion for floor care equipment, $0.8 billion for washing machines and $0.3 billion for clothing dryers.
Don't stand under that tree. Lightning has, on average, killed 42 people in United States every year for the last 10 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But there have been very few recorded instances of hail kills in the U.S., the last known fatality being a baby in Colorado in 1979.
Note that you are slightly more likely to be killed by lightning than to die in a plane crash, but you are more likely to be killed by a meteor strike than by lightning. How do you figure? A very large meteor or comet could wipe out mankind, whereas lightning generally kills only one person at a time.
Trampolines send nearly 100,000 people to the emergency room each year but cause very few deaths. More than 1,000 Americans die each year in swimming pools.
Ebola has killed about 1,000 people worldwide since it was discovered in 1976. SARS killed about 1,000 at its peak (so far) in 2003. Tuberculosis still kills about 2 million people annually. Influenza kills a few hundred thousand people in an average year, but in 1918 it killed more people (50 million to 100 million) than any pandemic in history (including the bubonic plague).
But don't count out the plague yet: You are more likely to die of bubonic plague (which is endemic among ground squirrels in the West) than to be killed by a mountain lion.
After our 20s, our mortality rates increase each year, so the most dangerous age is the oldest (the max is about 120). The first year of life is more dangerous than any other age below about 60.
Over a recent 10-year period, about half of amusement park deaths were related to roller coasters, one-fourth to water rides, and the remaining quarter to other park facilities.
It's no safer at the beach: You are about equally likely to be killed by a roller coaster or a shark.
In this case, danger comes in small packages: You are 50 times more likely to be killed by a bee than by a shark.
You are substantially more likely to be killed by a car than by a gun.
The annual death highway dealth toll exceeds 40,000, whereas gunshot fatalities in a recent year totaled about 33,000 -- consisting of suicides (18,000), murders (14,000) and accidents (1,000) -- according to "The Statistical Abstract of the United States" from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 2 percent of the U.S. driving population is drunk, but that this 2 percent causes about 40 percent of auto fatalities. NHTSA surveys indicate that about 8 percent of these drunkards also tested positive for marijuana, 4 percent for cocaine, and another 4 percent for other legal and illegal drugs. Kilbourne says that comparing these numbers can be misleading because alcohol metabolizes fairly quickly, while other drugs can be detected for weeks after ingestion. In addition, the 2 percent figure refers to drivers who were legally drunk, whereas the amounts of other drugs detected often fell short of seriously impairing the driver.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicates that about 18 percent of driver fatalities involved drugs other than alcohol --- but that many of those also involved alcohol, which presumably was often the underlying cause of the accident.
Kilbourne says, putting all this together, he concludes that driving drunk is generally more dangerous than driving stoned.